Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday July 28th, 2011

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: South


10 7 4

Q 10 5

K J 6

A K 5 2


K J 5 2

9 8 4

9 3

Q 10 8 4


A Q 9 8 3

7 3

Q 10 8 5 2




A K J 6 2

A 7 4

9 7 6 3


South West North East
1 Pass 2 2
Pass 3 4 All pass

Opening Lead: Spade two

“To the victor belong the spoils of the enemy.”

— William Marcy

During the Spingold tournament, at last summer’s Nationals in New Orleans, Milan Macura of the Czech Republic generously volunteered this deal, where he had missed a small extra chance.

Macura declared four hearts, and a spade lead and continuation saw declarer ruff and take two rounds of trump. He next took the two top clubs. The 4-1 club split appeared to force declarer to rely on the diamond finesse, but Macura could tell from the discarding that the diamond finesse was unlikely to succeed. Accordingly, he now played ace, king and a third diamond, hoping to endplay East for a ruff and discard. Alas for him, Rose Meltzer as West alertly ruffed her partner’s diamond winner to cash her side’s club tricks for down one.

As Macura pointed out, a better line would have been to ruff the spade continuation at trick two, draw two rounds of trump ending in dummy, and ruff a third spade. Then declarer can lead a low club from hand, planning to duck the trick altogether.

If East wins the trick and has a club left, declarer is in no danger. If not, the defenders must concede a ruff and discard or lead diamonds into the tenace, unless East has the third trump. If West puts up a high club on the first round of the suit to avoid an endplay on his partner, declarer wins in dummy, and the club spots are now good enough to hold the losers to one trick.


South holds:

A Q 9 8 3
7 3
Q 10 8 5 2


South West North East
ANSWER: This hand is ideal for a Michaels cue-bid, invented by Mike Michaels 50 years ago. The cue-bid of either major at one’s first turn to speak shows a two-suiter, at least 5-5 pattern, with the other major and a minor. This hand is minimum in both shape and values; indeed at unfavorable vulnerability one might simply overcall one spade rather than cue-bid two hearts.


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact